Round 18 of Exploration Incentive Scheme Co-funded Drilling Program now open

DMIRS expects strong response as confidence grows in State’s mining industry
Date: Friday, 24 August 2018

The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) is expecting a big response to Round 18 of the Exploration Incentive Scheme’s (EIS) flagship, the Co-funded Drilling Program, launched today by Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston.

“We saw a surge in the numbers received in Round 17 earlier this year and the department’s Geological Survey of Western Australia is expecting that trend to continue,” EIS Co-ordinator Dr Charlotte Hall said.

“The number of applications for Round 17 earlier this year jumped more than 20 per cent to 63 from 52 in the previous round and we’re putting that down to renewed confidence in the State’s mining industry.”

The EIS, which is run by DMIRS, provides about $5 million a year in co-funding for innovative exploration drilling in underexplored greenfield regions.

Since the program started in 2008, 671,150 metres have been drilled in 422 projects, resulting in more than 29 discoveries, including the major find in 2012 that led to the Nova nickel-copper-cobalt mine east of Norseman.

“More recently, we’ve seen important finds in the eastern Pilbara, including Antipa Minerals Minyari copper–nickel–cobalt discovery, Sipa Resources’ Paterson North copper–gold project and Encounter Resources’ copper and zinc prospects,” Dr Hall said.

“And In the Eastern Goldfields, Great Boulder Resources discovered significant copper–nickel–cobalt at Mount Venn, east of Laverton.”

Applications for Round 18 are now open and close at 5pm on 5 October.

Once approved, the successful applicants will have 12 months to complete their drilling from 1 January 2019. 

Dr Hall said that apart from the drilling program which has proved so popular with companies and prospectors, precompetitive geoscience data funded by the EIS and available free-of-charge was in great demand by explorers.

“A good example is current exploration for diamonds in Western Australia's Kimberley region by Perth-based DevEx Resources,” she said.

“The company used our data for exploration targeting and has now applied for exploration licences covering 2700 sq km between Rio Tinto's Argyle diamond mine and the former Ellendale mine.”